Throwback Thursdays: Byron Lee & the Dragonaires’ “Tiny Winey” Video

Words by Jesse Serwer—
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The late Byron Aloysius St. Elmo Lee, who was born this day (June 27) in 1935, is said to have formed the first incarnation of his band The Dragonaires all the way back in 1950. Beginning as a mento band during that genre’s heyday, the Dragonaires would leave their mark with signature ska songs like “Jamaica Ska,” and move into reggae and soca as the years went on, while always preserving earlier Jamaican musical traditions. Arguably JA’s most durable band, the Dragonaires have even withstood Lee’s passing five years ago, and continue to perform to this day.

For all his contributions to Jamaican music, Lee—who was responsible for founding Jamaica’s carnival in 1990— was possibly more treasured in the Caribbean’s small islands, as one of few Jamaican musicians to embrace and play calypso and soca. One Lee tune that’s certainly more treasured in farin is “Tiny Winey,” the beloved Dragonaires soca tune sung by Justin “Hero” Cassell, brother of the late Mighty Arrow.

“Tiny Winey” first dropped in 1984. But, while it may sound impossibly dated to anyone hearing it for the first time today, this carnival classic has always stayed relevant, and is sure to continue getting rinsed at sessions until time immemorial.

Far less celebrated than the song itself is this little-known video for the tune. The clip has got everything you could hope for from a circa ’84 soca video: in other words, a spandex-wearing Miss Tiny winin’ in front of of a green screen showing carnival scenes, mixed with live footage of the band playing in a dark room.

Watch below and, for Byron’s sake, get winin’.

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